Protests Rage Across Europe as Lockdown, Vaccination Mandates Start
Anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine-passport protests erupted across Europe on July 24, according to media photos and videos.
Thousands upon thousands of demonstrators came out in London, Dublin, Paris, Rome, Athens, and other cities across Europe, according to footage and news reports.
The demonstrations in France appeared to be the most tense, with riot police firing tear gas as clashes erupted in central Paris.
Police sought to push back demonstrators near the capital’s Gare Saint-Lazare railway station after protesters knocked over a police motorbike ridden by two officers, news footage showed. Scuffles between police and demonstrators also broke out at the Champs-Elysees thoroughfare, where tear gas was fired and traffic was halted, it showed.
France’s Interior Ministry said that about 160,000 people partook in the protests on July 24—sharply up from 114,000 the previous week, Reuters reported.
JUST IN 🚨 Massive anti-vaccine passport protest in London.
— Masa (@GHClc1ahp6RlhOg) July 24, 2021
The reason for the protest, in part, was due to pending legislation in France’s Parliament that would set up a vaccine passport system as well as a vaccination mandate for all health care workers. The passport bill would force people to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result to enter restaurants and other public areas—which critics have described as needlessly draconian.
Protesters railed against the proposed legislation, saying, “‘No’ to shameful pass,” while denigrating French President Emmanuel Macron as a “tyrant.”
— Election Wizard (@ElectionWiz) July 24, 2021
“We need to wait a little bit before the French people can decide. … I think a part of France is always going to be unwilling, and that blackmail and threats won’t work,” protester Ayoub Bouglia, an engineer, told The Associated Press.
Thousands of Italian demonstrators gathered in Rome, Naples, Verona, and Milan on July 24, according to videos and photos published online.
In Verona, thousands chanted, “No Green Pass,” referring to the Italian government’s decision to implement a vaccine-passport-like system for people to enter local fairs, stadiums, theaters, and other gathering areas.
Also on July 24, demonstrators in Dublin, Ireland, emphatically called on the government to rescind lockdown and mask measures.
About 4,000 people appeared outside of the Greek Parliament in central Athens to protest against mandatory vaccinations, DW and other news agencies reported. Greek authorities used tear gas on some protesters.
Reuters contributed to this report.